Much like every other part of me, my baking style and my taste has evolved over the years. These days I'm most fond of hardier treats like oaty, seedy cookies with chocolate chips (everything is better with chocolate) and dense, heavy muffins (but NO oily business). I'm obsessed with the sorts of baked goods you'd likely only find in one of those independent, hole-in-the-wall sorts of coffee houses; brimming with character and charm, casually serving bold, rich coffee, creamy tasty lattes and loads of over-sized artisan-looking baked goodies. I'm actually so in love that I've gotten into the habit of tweaking (overhauling) recipes; trading out ingredients and adjusting the proportions, hoping to stumble across the perfect texture, flavor and consistency.
Some have wondered if I've always been the brown-haired, baking Betty of today, and the short answer is...ummm, NO! My husband would be the first to stand and solemnly swear on each of our children's lives that my sad confession is truth. When we first got married I was a TERRIBLE cook...like really REALLY bad. I didn't even know that water needed to come to boil before pasta should be added. I basically knew nothing and I hated that I knew nothing. All those years ago I was a young, prideful know-it-all. Being a dumpy cook killed me. I had conquered only ONE recipe, my childhood favorite: zucchini bread. All others secretly terrified me. As God/fate would have it, I married a former chef who was more than happy to teach me what he knew (my pride minded), but Adam was gracious and patient. So, now here I am, 11+ years later and a crazy baking fool.
Today started out like any other day: I woke up and rushed around like a chicken with her head chopped off. I was brewing coffee, packing lunches, feeding reasonable(ish) older kids while force feeding my ravenous 2 year old who doesn't acknowledge the ache of hunger until she's losing her mind; writhing and flopping on the floor (just another morning in Smith paradise). Then I saw a text from Adam. He'd left his wallet at home and was hoping it was in the kitchen where he'd left it. I quickly glanced around and noticed the bowl of browning, overripe bananas, and I did what any other strange and mildly unstable person might...I offered to deliver muffins.
I admit it, I boarded that muffin train a touch prematurely and as my morning really got rolling, I realized I was way in over my head. I (100%) seriously began praying HARD that I wouldn't have to show up with only a wallet and no muffins. I imagined Adam prepping his office team with tall tails of my baking abilities. I also prayed that if by some miracle, I should manage to pull something together, that it would be amazing. SO MUCH PRESSURE...and I did it all to myself!
I don't know how (only God knows), but in my frenzied guessing and nervous mixing somehow glorious muffins were born! They were glor-i-ous, Thank you God! The kids loved the muffins, the husband loved the muffins, but most importantly (in this instance) the coworkers LOVED the muffins. Maybe they were all just fibbing to me to spare my feelings, but honestly I thought the muffins were pretty wonderful too. So I wanted to share my miracle muffin recipe. Enjoy!!
3 cups of organic, unbleached white flour (any white flour will do)
3/4 cups white sugar
3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk on hand, a homemade buttermilk substitute is REALLY easy to make: add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to 3/4 cups of milk and let it sit for about 5-10 mins. The mixture with thicken and curdle- don't worry, it's supposed to)
1/2 cup warmed (liquid) coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
raw sugar for sprinkling (granulated white sugar will work)
1. Preheat the oven to 375
2. Find two bowls; one for dry ingredients and one for wet.
3. Peel and mash 2 bananas in a bowl. Add the buttermilk, eggs, liquid coconut oil (microwave the coconut oil till it's no longer solid, maybe 20 or 30 seconds) and vanilla extract and mix together
4. Combine all dry ingredients (flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt) and mix well.
5. Gradually pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The trick to these muffins is to mix as LITTLE as possible! Seriously, turn off your mixer early, even before you're 100% confident that all the dry bits are fulling incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to gently lift any remaining dry bits from the bottom of the bowl and give it just a couple stirs.
6. The batter will seem pretty thick. Evenly distribute the muffin batter between 12 paper lined muffin cups. The muffin cups should be filled nearly to the top.
7. Sprinkle raw sugar over the top of each muffin (maybe about a teaspoon full per muffin). The bigger the sugar granules, the better!
8. Bake for 20-27 mins, depending on your oven. Remove the lovely muffins from the oven with the tops are golden and the a tooth pick inserted into the center of the largest muffin comes out clean (a few little crumbs are OK)